03/17/2011 07:59 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

'Fukushima 50' Risk Their Lives To Prevent Nuclear Meltdown

While thousands of people have been evacuated due to high risks of radiation near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, a small group of 180 workers are risking their lives to help prevent a major meltdown.

The group of nearly 200 technicians, reportedly labeled the Fukushima 50 because they work in shifts of 50, are likely being exposed to massive amounts of radiation.

CNN reports:

"According to the World Health Organisation, the average person is exposed to about 3.0 millisieverts (mSv) a year of radiation, from naturally-occurring, medical and other sources.

But monitoring at the Fukushima Daiichi site has recorded radiation as high as 400 millisieverts an hour -- a level known to be a risk to human health."


In e-mails and texts, plant workers have to break hard news to family members, reports ABC:

"My dad went to the Nuclear Plant. I never heard my mother cry so hard. People at the plant are struggling, sacrificing themselves to protect you. Please dad come back alive," read a tweet by Twitter user @nekkonekonyaa.

Another woman said her husband continued to work despite knowing he could suffer from radiation poisoning:

"Please continue to live well. I cannot be home for awhile," he told her in an e-mail.

While the Fukushima 50 are being hailed as heroes for their commitment to duty, some question why such a hi-tech country isn't utilizing their technologies to keep humans out of harm's way.

According to The Telegraph,

"Although the country has more hi-tech robots than any other in the world, it has emerged that none are being used in the battle to bring the stricken Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Instead a skeleton team of "hero" workers has been left shouldering the burden trying to cool the plant's nuclear reactors."

Find more information on how to help Japan.